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Jane Goodall: A Biography

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Recent polls identify Jane Goodall to be the most recognizable living scientist in the Western world. Her work with chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania has been renowned as one of the great achievements of scientific research. Her approach to field study, once ridiculed and challenged by the scientific world, has now become the model for other ethologists t Recent polls identify Jane Goodall to be the most recognizable living scientist in the Western world. Her work with chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania has been renowned as one of the great achievements of scientific research. Her approach to field study, once ridiculed and challenged by the scientific world, has now become the model for other ethologists to use. In this insightful biography, Meg Greene tells the story of Goodall’s life from her early days growing up in England under the influence of her mother, through her experiences as a young protégé of anthropologist Louis Leakey pioneering new techniques of investigating chimpanzee behavior in Africa, to her mature career as an expert on chimpanzee social life and her ongoing efforts today to promote the conservation of wildlife. Greene describes how Goodall’s work challenged and changed perceptions of the relations between the primate and human worlds. Contrary to accepted scientific opinion of the time, which viewed chimpanzees as brutish, Goodall found chimps to be capable of a wide range of emotions, including affection, compassion, and love. She also showed that chimps could reason, think, and solve problems. Perhaps most startling, Goodall discovered that chimpanzees could fashion primitive implements from grass, twigs, and leaves, dispelling the notion that humans are the only species that can make tools. On the personal side, Greene reveals that Goodall found solace in her home at Gombe from the trials of life that included a divorce, the death of her second husband, criticisms from fellow scientists, and a deep spiritual crisis. This is a fascinating story of a naïve young woman who started her work without even a college degree and eventually developed into a dedicated scientist and a world-famous conservationist and humanitarian. For more than 45 years, Jane Goodall has reached out to the world to join in her efforts to aid those who cannot speak for themselves, and to promote respect for all living creatures.


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Recent polls identify Jane Goodall to be the most recognizable living scientist in the Western world. Her work with chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania has been renowned as one of the great achievements of scientific research. Her approach to field study, once ridiculed and challenged by the scientific world, has now become the model for other ethologists t Recent polls identify Jane Goodall to be the most recognizable living scientist in the Western world. Her work with chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania has been renowned as one of the great achievements of scientific research. Her approach to field study, once ridiculed and challenged by the scientific world, has now become the model for other ethologists to use. In this insightful biography, Meg Greene tells the story of Goodall’s life from her early days growing up in England under the influence of her mother, through her experiences as a young protégé of anthropologist Louis Leakey pioneering new techniques of investigating chimpanzee behavior in Africa, to her mature career as an expert on chimpanzee social life and her ongoing efforts today to promote the conservation of wildlife. Greene describes how Goodall’s work challenged and changed perceptions of the relations between the primate and human worlds. Contrary to accepted scientific opinion of the time, which viewed chimpanzees as brutish, Goodall found chimps to be capable of a wide range of emotions, including affection, compassion, and love. She also showed that chimps could reason, think, and solve problems. Perhaps most startling, Goodall discovered that chimpanzees could fashion primitive implements from grass, twigs, and leaves, dispelling the notion that humans are the only species that can make tools. On the personal side, Greene reveals that Goodall found solace in her home at Gombe from the trials of life that included a divorce, the death of her second husband, criticisms from fellow scientists, and a deep spiritual crisis. This is a fascinating story of a naïve young woman who started her work without even a college degree and eventually developed into a dedicated scientist and a world-famous conservationist and humanitarian. For more than 45 years, Jane Goodall has reached out to the world to join in her efforts to aid those who cannot speak for themselves, and to promote respect for all living creatures.

30 review for Jane Goodall: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Imogen Foster Bauer

    Extremely informative and an intriguing insight into the life of Jane Goodall

  2. 4 out of 5

    Timea Tucker

    This is a great book. It's written well and it's easy to follow. The story dictates in good detail the life of Jane Goodall up to around 2004, I believe. It was really beautiful hearing her accounts of her life in Africa and her time with the chimpanzees. It was also really heartbreaking when she described the loss of them and those close to her. This is a great book. It's written well and it's easy to follow. The story dictates in good detail the life of Jane Goodall up to around 2004, I believe. It was really beautiful hearing her accounts of her life in Africa and her time with the chimpanzees. It was also really heartbreaking when she described the loss of them and those close to her.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlynn

    The writer clearly does not have a science background so it was very hard for me to read. She uses lots of adjectives and not much solid fact. May be good if you wanted a very brief, very simple version of the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dionne

    A great, short biography on an incredible woman.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Regine Haensel

    This book is a Coles Notes version of Jane Goodall's life, less than 200 pages. Might be good if you want a quick overview, but the biography by Dale Petersen is much weightier (in all respects), more interestingt and in depth. This book is a Coles Notes version of Jane Goodall's life, less than 200 pages. Might be good if you want a quick overview, but the biography by Dale Petersen is much weightier (in all respects), more interestingt and in depth.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily Theiler

    I would love to read more about Jane Goodall but this book was poorly written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    Great book about her life from early childhood to date. Her scientific study of chimpanzees has changed how we view the animal.Can be taught to teach scientific study, chimps.

  8. 4 out of 5

    McKell Nichols

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katelynn

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ana C

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Bosco

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna Parker

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy Roma

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elaine S

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Elliott

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen Fouts

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim Voeltz

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Kroell

  25. 5 out of 5

    Desirae B.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joy

  28. 4 out of 5

    KRISTI ♫ ♪

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sukant Choudhuri

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